Aaron Hughes is raring to go following his full recovery from an ankle injury and now wants to play a key part in helping Brighton & Hove Albion rise up the Championship table.
The Northern Ireland international played the full 90 minutes of his country’s 2-0 defeat to Romania last week and admitted he was surprised by the rate of his own recovery.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “I’m feeling fine; the game for Northern Ireland was a week ago now. I recovered and have now had a good week’s training back with the lads.
“I was very pleasantly surprised with how quickly I recovered. The ankle swelled up quite quickly and I went straight for an x-ray and the scan said the ligaments were all intact.
“I knew then that with the right treatment and management, we would get that swelling down. Adam (Brett) and the medical team worked hard to get me fit in time for the game.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be broken, but when they said all the structures were good, I was relieved more than anything.
“I now just want to enjoy what I’m doing here and I’m hopeful of being a part of a team that’s successful and pushing up the league. Hopefully now we can kick-start our season and you never know what can happen.”
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Hughes is just eight appearances off reaching 100 caps for Northern Ireland and now hopes to reach that milestone while helping his country qualify for the Euro 2016 finals.
“An obvious target at international level would be to make the European Championships and to reach 100 caps on the way as well.
“I’ve played with a few players that have hit 100 appearances and I had so much respect towards them; now I want to do it for myself.”
The 35-year-old then looked ahead to the match against Norwich City at Carrow Road today and believes that Albion can take heart from recent results against Wigan and Blackburn.
“I’ve been to Carrow Road a few times and it’s never an easy place to go. They’ve come down from the Premier League with good a pedigree and have players with a lot of experience, but I think we can take confidence from gaining four points in our last couple of home games.
“Over the course of the season you will get peaks and troughs where you hit a bad run of form and it’s all about trying to find that consistency week-in, week-out.
“You know that if you do the right things well, then it’s going to change. We will be looking to start this period well and get some points on the board.”